Books: a collection of lists

I’m heading off to the south coast for a few days of rest soon, and I’ve been thinking about what book I might like to read. All this ponderin’ has reminded me of some of the great books I’ve read in the past…and some of the ones I haven’t.

Books I’ve Always Wanted to Read But Never Have

Life of Pi (Yann Martel) – A guy I met in Scarborough once read out a beautiful passage from this book in our small group, and I thought at that moment it sounded like something I’d like to read.  That was nine years ago, so…

Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy) – This was a favorite of one my best friends in high school.  It’s really long.

Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott) –  A writer’s must-read, allegedly.

Books I Couldn’t Put Down

Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller) – This is one of those books I put off reading for ages because everyone was reading it and I get a bit eye-rolly about books everyone is reading.  But then I read it.  And it was worth it.  Eye-roll repentance.

A Separate Peace (John Knowles) – I loved the Dead Poets’ Society feel of this book.  I underlined several striking passages.  Beautifully written, and you’ll feel classy reading it in a coffee shop.

The Help (Kathryn Stockett) – Glory be.  A good holiday book – my friend Sarah loaned it to me at the beach last year, and I gobbled it up.  I laughed, cried, cringed, and praised the good Lord.  And I haven’t seen the film yet…does it do the book justice?

The Nanny Diaries  (Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus) – Don’t judge.  This was another great beach book.  Smarter and funnier than you’d expect, and WAY better than the Scarlett Johanssen/Dakota Fanning movie interpretation.  (No offense, ladies.  I don’t blame you.)

Walking on Water (Madeleine L’Engle) – One of the best books I’ve ever read on art and Christianity.

Books I Gave Up On

The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) – I’ve got a theory about how sometimes it’s just “not the right time” for a specific book, and when I tried to read this one a few years ago, the jumping dates just stressed me out.  I’m thinking maybe I’ve chilled out enough to try it again.

Possession (A S Byatt) – I started reading this one because my friend Emily, a kindred spirit in films and baking and literature, recommended it.  I tried, y’all; I really did.  But I just couldn’t hack it.  I usually explain it by saying I felt it was all a bit self-indulgent for Byatt, but in truth, I think Emily’s just smarter than me.

On the Road (Jack Kerouac) – I really, really wanted to read this when I was young teenager, because I thought I was misunderstood and angsty, and I felt like ol’ Jack could really speak to me.  But I read a couple of pages and, well, I just didn’t get it.  I was about 14 though, so there were quite a few things I didn’t get.

Books I Should’ve Read for My English Degree But Didn’t

Y’all might be about to lose quite a lot of respect for me.  Ready?  Deep breaths.

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)

Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier)

In my defense, I lose motivation to read anything when I’m forced to do it.  And now I can read these babies for pure enjoyment.  Just don’t tell me I have to.

What are your favorite holiday reads?  And what are you most embarrassed to admit you’ve never read?

Author: Faith

Faith Dwight is a photographer and a writer. She is a Southern American girl living just north of London with her British husband, Simon and their two halfling sons.

29 thoughts

  1. I totally get what you mean about being forced to read books. I’m so glad I didn’t read Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice in high school. Jane Eyre was one of the best books I have ever read and I wouldn’t have liked it if I hadn’t read it on my own.

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